Lit Hits: What We're Reading in June
Here at Grub HQ, we're always talking about the books that keep us up at night, the novels we can't put down, the memoirs that call to us over our morning coffees. Every month, we'll share our staff's latest literary obsessions to add to your own never-ending reading list.
Lauren, Grub's Office Manager, is making her way through Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, which is magical and immersive. She's also starting The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit, which brings her back to reality every time.
In preparing for his fall class, Head of Faculty and Curriculum Dariel is currently reading Mia Alvar's collection In The Country and The Collected Stories of Mavis Gallant, which keep reminding him how much he loves the short story form.
Eson, Grub's Youth Programs Manager, just finished the audiobook for Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. It was the perfect way to recover from eye surgery and also a great start to summer reading! It has a nice mix of Brooklyn personality, mysticism, and humor. For those who like to listen to stories with the whole family gathered around, this makes for a nice one!
Alison, Grub's Director of Programs & Marketing, is reading Cottonmouths by Novel Incubator alumna Kelly Ford, and is having a lot of trouble putting it down. It's delightful (and annoyingly rare) to see the Arkansas Ozarks––where Alison's dad's side of the family hails from––rendered in such stark, compassionate detail.
Assistant Director of the Muse Conference Sonya is reading (former Head Instructor) Chip Cheek's untitled novel, which is turning her inside out. No joke. [Let the record state that Alison is "SO JEALOUS" that Sonya gets to read this, as is Office Manager Lauren. - Ed.]
Lauren, Grub's Program Coordinator, just finished Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan, which was filled with poetic, stunning prose. She’s now embarking on Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions for an obvious change of pace.
GrubWrites Editor Sarah just finished Stacey D'Erasmo's 2014 novel Wonderland, a beautifully articulated meditation on art-making and the attempt to create something that truly transcends. It gave Sarah the female rockstar protagonist she'd always longed for, and a heady nostalgia trip through her own nafarious noise-making past.
Neighborhood Program Fellow Denise is reading Night at the Fiestas, a story collection by Kirstin Valdez Quade. It has made her tense, anxious, thoughtful, and in awe. She also has to hurry up and finish Oreo by Fran Ross and Shame by Salman Rushdie before they are due back at the library.
Executive Director Eve is juggling Boy Erased by Garrad Conley, who she's so excited is now teaching the Memoir Incubator at Grub, and Evicted by Mathew Desmond, which was edited by her friend Amanda Cook and won a Pulitzer. Both books are brilliant.
Artistic Director Chris is reading Max Ritvo's incredible poetry collection, Four Reincarnations, and re-reading Disgrace by JM Coetzee, both for upcoming teaching gigs.
Stephanie, Grub's Director of Development, is reading The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch. Its brutal beauty and poetic compression make the whole world stop for a minute. She wants to gulp it down, but has to take a deep breath, read the last lines again more slowly, and then she can go on.
Director of the Boston Literary District Alysia is reading Truevine by Beth Macy to prepare for an event she is moderating at Porter Square Books. It's a dark and fascinating tale of two Albino African-American brothers who were kidnapped off a tobacco farm in 1900 VA and conscripted into the circus. The book is deeply researched and compassionately written, revealing the world of the Jim Crow South and circus subcultures.